Opening Eyes to Manufacturing, Opening Doors to BIG Kaiser

We were delighted to host more than 80 students, along with their teachers and parents, last night at our headquarters in Hoffman Estates, IL. The event, GCAMP’s Student Open House, was designed to help erode myths and misconceptions about manufacturing held by students and parents alike.

AMT’s Smartforce Student Summit Rally Fighter was on display in the BIG Kaiser building during the event.

Speakers included Greg Jones, Vice President, Smartforce Development, AMT; our own Jack Burley, Vice President of Sales and Engineering; and Scott Miller, Interim Executive Director, Illinois Manufacturing Lab (co-located with Chicago’s new DMDI Institute).  Northern Illinois University was on hand to distribute educational information about the path to manufacturing.

But perhaps the real stars of the show included younger people who shared their recent experiences of having come out of internships, apprenticeships, two-year associates programs, and other STEM education programs. They talked about their path to success and how they made it into the world of manufacturing. From BIG Kaiser, speakers included Cory Cetkovic, Applications Engineer; Alex Morrison, Draftsman; and Shawn Stevens, BIG Daishowa Repair Technician. All three are recent success stories and products of the system about which attending students and parents were curious.

In BIG Kaiser’s showroom, guests were able to watch machine demos, see sample manufactured parts, speak with engineers, and learn more about the company.

Even younger was Ryan Kissane, a 17-year-old high school student and recent intern at nearby Felsomat, who was able to provide his peers with his unique manufacturing experience.

“The Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership event at BIG Kaiser was one of the best events of its kind that I’ve participated in around the country,” said Greg Jones of the event. “Students and their parents had an opportunity to see the latest in advanced manufacturing technology in action, they got to hear from BIG Kaiser twenty-something year old technicians, engineers and draftsmen who displayed their passion for the work that they do at the company, and I had an opportunity to speak with dozens of parents and their kids about our industry’s desire to see them become part of the next generation of US manufacturing.”

After a few brief talks and videos, students also watched, and even participated in, live machine demonstrations and tooling seminars.

“It’s really encouraging to see so much enthusiasm and interest in manufacturing in these young people and their parents,” said Chris Kaiser, President & CEO, BIG Kaiser. “There is definitely a need for more manufacturing internships. This serves as a call to action for manufacturers to step up, contact GCAMP.org (locally), AMT, or similar organization for internship participation.”